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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Challenge of Master Killer/Invincible
Challenge of Master Killer/Invincible
Ventura // Unrated // November 4, 2003
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by David Blair | posted January 14, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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"I didn't know the bastard knew how to make himself invisible?"- Super Guy

The Movie

This DVD is a double feature disc offering two movies, Challenge of the Master Killer, and Invincible Super Guy. Both are Kung Fu action films made in the 70's and 80's. There's a lot to say here, not much of it good, so let's dive in.

Challenge of the Master Killer
This has to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and I'm not talking the kind of "bad" that is funny. No, this one is just plain horrible. The plot is so full of holes you could use it as a cheese shredder. The direction is so off you never know who the main characters are. The fight scenes, for the most part, are too short and boring to be entertaining, and the lighting is so poor you can't see what's going on much of the time anyway. (Which may not be a bad thing) This is a bad movie with a bad plot, bad action, and bad editing. And if you're not careful, it'll suck the life right out of you. I recommend watching it with a friend so they can periodically check your pulse to make sure you're still alive. But make sure your friend is protected with earplugs and a blindfold or else they'll suffer the same fate as you.

Supposedly there is a "master killer" walking the streets and only one super cop can stop him. But wait, if that's the case, then how come this guy's newly appointed partner takes center stage for most of the movie? Hmmm, got me? I'd like to say that there's more to the movie than this but there isn't.

The movie kicks off in a weird strip club where our hero tries to bust a criminal for selling drugs. The scene is pointless in progressing the plot, and if it does anything it shows the incompetence of the lead character. But the director must have really loved the location because he keeps using it throughout the movie. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe he got a two-for-one night special with the rent. After our hero fails to make a successful bust, his captain pairs him with a younger cop to keep tabs on him. The initial impression is that he's going to hate his new partner, but he quickly takes a step back and lets his new partner run the show for most of the movie. Next thing you know his partner is falling in love with some snobby lady in a roller rink, and he and his partner travel across the city doing pretty much nothing. In fact, for the majority of the movie, you forget that they're supposed to be chasing down a mass murderer. Ridiculous.

I kept hoping the fight scenes would be this movie's saving grace, but no such luck. All the action sequences were extremely short, and most of the punches and kicks were so obviously pulled that you always knew you were watching stunt guys doing a choreographed scene. A Jackie Chan movie this is NOT. The ONLY scene worth watching was the last sword fight between the "master killer" and our hero cop. The swordplay was fast and well rehearsed, however, after watching the entire 1:27 minute feature this was the only scene I liked.

In the main menu for this DVD, you have an option for choosing "Insta-Action" which will show you only the action scenes for each particular movie. If you absolutely must watch this movie, I highly recommend using this feature. But take note the best fight scene in the entire movie was amazingly left out of this feature, so you'll have to fast forward to the end of the full version to view it. Like I said, ridiculous.

Invincible Super Guy
If you're looking for a good 'ol classic kung fu movie, look no further, because this is as classic as it gets. If you love costume kung fu films than this disc is definitely worth it, but, for this movie only since the previously reviewed movie sucked worse than my deceased vacuum cleaner. Sure the plot is hokey, the fight scenes are comical, and the overdubbing is hilarious, but that's what people love about these movies. It's classic kung fu at its finest.

Invincible Super Guy is somewhat of a rarity, and can be said to have a small part in kung fu moviemaking history. Once you watch it you'll see why. Every historic, albeit gloriously cheesy fight move is flaunted here, such as the tin can sword clashes, the flapping cape super jumps, the reverse camera tricks, and the ever-popular zoom-in, zoom-out close ups. But no ancient era kung fu film would be complete without the hilarious frog-throat British overdubs. There's nothing funnier than hearing an ancient kung fu master say, "let's get out of here, right-o."

Our story begins with the rape and pillage of a young woman in the woods by two street toughs. Soon these bullies meet up with an evil brother and sister duo who are determined to steal the local aristocrat's gold. However, before they can pull off the heist, someone beats them to it. The robber leaves a note somewhat to the effect of a Robin Hood-type and claims to be the legendary Super Guy. What follows is a series of backstabbing, (both figuratively and literally) fighting, and mystery that continues till the end credits.

There are plenty of classic kung fu fight scenes to enjoy, most of which have a lady or two getting in on the action. The movie climaxes with a final fight between our heroes and the evil Devil Man, who can mysteriously make himself invisible.

If you're looking for modern day entertainment, then don't look here. But if you're interested in seeing a classic, cheesy kung fu movie, than this is the one for you. I was actually able to sit through this film without use of any external life support devices, unlike Challenge of the Master Killer. So if you're up for some good Kung Fu mania, check this movie out.


The DVD

Video:
Both movies are presented in close to 4x3 fullscreen and are not anamorphic. Let me get this out of the way right now, this is one abysmal looking DVD. If you're planning on watching this on a large projection TV, forget it. There is a grotesque amount of pixelation, which makes large-scale viewing unbearable. Both movies are despicably blurry, to the point the edges of characters and their clothing actually bleed into the surrounding background. Fine detail is nonexistent, and colors are laughably inconsistent. Black levels are extremely poor, and is most evident in the night scenes in Master Killer. Both movies have their fair share of film blemishes, but Super Guy suffers the worst, having millions of spots, scratches, and lines popping up all over the place.

Another problem, more specific to Super Guy, is the pausing and stuttering that occurs throughout the film. This is probably due to the obviously less than optimal condition of the source material, but it is still a disappointment nonetheless. Also, the tint of the movie changes colors more times than a Blue Man Group performance. One second the sky is pink, the next it's yellow, then gray, then green. This is a horrible looking DVD no matter how you slice it.

Audio:
Both movies have a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track, and both movies sound crappy. Actually, Master Killer sounded worse than Super Guy, which is inexcusable seeing how Super Guy was filmed much earlier.

When the DVD first loads up it will sound normal in the main menu, but as soon as the movies start, you'll have to crank up the volume to hear what's going on. Dialogue is hard to hear even if you have the rear channel adjusted accordingly. Sound effects and bass levels are poor to say the least, so don't expect a typical action sound to go along with these kung fu movies.

Extras:
The only extra is a menu option on the DVD that allows you to view a montage of the action scenes for each movie. This is a fantastic feature that should be included in ALL fighting movies. But in the case of this DVD, it shows the shortcomings of the movies since the action montage can be humiliatingly short and inadequate, as is the case for Master Killer.


Final Thoughts:
If Challenge of the Master Killer was the only movie on this DVD, it would get a 'zero,' but since Invincible Super Guy comes with it as well, it gets a 'two.' If you are a collector of classic period kung fu movies, than this disc is worth it for Super Guy alone. But Master Killer is so bad, I'd say don't even remotely toy with the idea of watching it. You've been warned. Skip It

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